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Byram Neighbors Plead for Shorter Tower

Residents of a Byram neighborhood spoke out against the construction of a cell tower on Rich Avenue West at Tuesday night's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

"A second 70-foot tower would be far preferable to the neighborhood than this proposed 77-plus-feet tower with all these antennas," said John Hartwell, a neighborhood resident. "There are not that many houses in that neighborhood. Some of them would be looking at two flag poles versus all these antennas, and that is the better of two evils."

The Planning and Zoning Commission has no say in the matter but held the public hearing to gather residents' opinions. It will make recommendations to the Connecticut Siting Council, which has the final say in the construction.

If approved by the siting council, a 77-foot Verizon Wireless tower would replace the current 70-foot AT&T tower in the neighborhood. Both wireless carriers would place their antennas on the new tower. Diane Fox, director of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said the Greenwich Police Department has also expressed interest in using the tower.

John Beaumont, of 56 Rich Ave. W., said he, his neighbors and visitors to Byram Park, directly across from the proposed site, already endure a tower eyesore and a larger one would further depreciate the value of area homes.

"Please do not recommend this cell tower proposal, it is just not fair. We cannot be accused of voicing just another 'not in my back yard' concern because we already have a cell tower," said Beaumont. "Let some other sites share the burden with another flagpole-type tower."

Beaumont, concerned his home value would plummet, has offered his lawn as a site for a second 70-foot cell tower to avoid building the larger tower. He said he would receive $3,000 a month from Verizon for rent, which would balance out his lower home value.

The Planning and Zoning Commission members did not indicate what they would recommend to the Connecticut Siting Council.

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